Scientists at Johns Hopkins and the University of Texas Medical Branch have created a new tool that easily reveals when and where a key cellular signal is active. The development, described in the early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, should speed identification of the signals triggers and effects in normal processes and in conditions such as asthma, allergy, inflammation, lung disease and heart disease.
The tool -- a special fluorescent protein -- probes the activity of cyclic AMP in living cells and represents biologys growing application of a fluorescent phenomenon to study the molecular changes that reveal cells inner workings. Much like a child might pass along a visitors request to a grown-up, cyclic AMP carries messages from hormones or other molecules "knocking" at the cells door to proteins inside the cell. But because cyclic AMP uses just a handful of proteins to pass on many messages, scientists have had a hard time figuring out how it can trigger the right cellular response to each one.
"Scientists suspected that timing and location of cyclic AMP activity was important, but there was no easy way to study cyclic AMP inside cells in real time and in real space," says Jin Zhang, Ph.D., senior author of the study and an assistant professor of pharmacology and molecular sciences and of neuroscience in Johns Hopkins Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences. "This new fluorescent protein can be directed to the nucleus or to other parts of the cell, so we can now follow cyclic AMP activity in real time and space."
Joanna Downer | EurekAlert!
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Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
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Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
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For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
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An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
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A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
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